Audubon Birdwalk along the Rio Laja

Sunday, September 23, 7:45 am-noon
Meets in front of Instituto Allende, Ancha de San Antonio 20
Norman Besman, (044) 415-149-0394
Members free, non-members 200 pesos or US $10

September 23 Audubon Birdwalk along the Rio Laja

By Signe Hammer

Join Audubon de México for a birdwalk on Sunday the 23rd! With leaders Norman Besman, Luke Rich and Michael Burns, we'll head to the bridge over the Rio Laja at Montecillo de Nieto, just past the back road into Atotonilco. (In case you noticed, yes, it's the fourth Sunday this month, because the third Sunday was part of the Independencia celebration.)

We'll bird from the bridge and then walk down to the river, birding along the banks. Now that it's Fall, we should find an early migrant or two, the first of our many snowbirds. Last year we saw a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, a tiny, hyperactive bird with a long tail, and a Lark Sparrow, the most common of several species of wintering sparrows. We could spot a Yellow or Black and White Warbler, too. The latter will be passing through—it winters in Mexico but not, alas, around San Miguel.

Last year we had a feast of orioles, including our resident—and endemic to Mexico—Black-backed and Black-vented Orioles, and a wintering Hooded Oriole. Unlike the first two, which are black on top, the Hooded has a bright orange head with a black face.

We'll look for birds that love the water, such as our resident Green Kingfisher, Snowy and Great Egrets, and Black-crowned Night Heron. We're very likely to see Barn and Northern Rough-winged Swallows zipping around. And we'll almost certainly spot a Black Phoebe, a small black flycatcher with a white belly that likes to hunt insects on the water.

Some other resident birds we're likely to see include our beautiful Blue Grosbeak, our chatty Golden-fronted Woodpecker, and our (often brilliantly) red-tinged House Finch, with its bubbly song. Another vocalist is our big, flashy Great Kiskadee, which shrieks its own name, kis-ka-dee!

And don't forget to keep an eye on the sky, where we could spot a Crested Caracara, White-tailed Kite, Cooper's or Red-tailed Hawk, raven or vulture.

The walk is open to all birders, beginning and experienced alike. Wear comfortable, sturdy walking shoes and bring water and a hat. We'll have our Audubon de México bird guide, Birds of San Miguel—with 81 species commonly found in the San Miguel area—for sale. Our guides carry telescopes so that everyone can see distant birds clearly, and we'll also have a few pairs of binoculars to lend.

Carpooling is essential, so if you have a car, please bring it. Plan to arrive at 7:45, as we leave promptly at 8. You'll be back about noon, with new entries for your life list and new birding friends. Steady rain cancels.

For more information, visit our website at:

www.audubonmex.org

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